Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Little Family History

Several family members have expressed an interest in hearing more "family stories". Now that all of our older family members have passed on, it falls to my generation to keep the stories alive for our children and their children. I plan to put a bunch of family stories and family history onto this blog. Hopefully it won't be too boring for non-family members!

I'll start with what I know about my mother's side of the family. I have a pretty good family tree, and some history that my Grandma Mercy wrote down. There's also a web page with some Whitfield family documents, and another with a Whitfield Family History. Let's go for it!

My great great grandfather, Civil War General Nathan Bryan Whitfield (1798-1868)**[NOTE: someone who commented has corrected this - see the comments below] moved his family and slaves from Lenoir County, N.C., to Marengo County, Alabama, in 1835. He took part in expanding the cotton culture into the Old Southwest and built Gaineswood mansion in Demopolis. His son was Bryan Whitfield, and this is a photo of what he looked like, as well as a group portrait of his nine children, including Richard, my grandfather, on the far left. Bryan's wife was Ellen White Whitfield (photo above, center of group, with my mother standing right behind her).
When I was a child, I knew a few of these people, who were my mother's fraternal aunts and uncles. My grandfather, Richard, died when I was about 4 years old, and my memories of him are few. Anna Wray (standing on the left in the second row) was an old woman living in New Haven, Ct. with her sister Fannie (seated on the right side). I believe that both were "old maids". Anna Wray (whom we called "Auntie Wray") was a fun-loving and warm woman, who always welcomed us with huge hugs and much nurturing. She wore cotton house dresses and had silver/grey wavy hair and dimples. She laughed easily, and had a light hearted way about her. I remember the happiness of going to her house, and always begging to stay longer. Such warmth and playfulness was in short supply in my childhood. Here's a photo of her reading with me in our library at home, in 1951.
Uncle Nathan (back row in group photo above, standing at right with bow tie) was also living in New Haven, with his hilarious wife, Aunt Florence. They were a pair of pranksters, and kept up a funny banter of jokes and laughter. Uncle Nathan always had plenty of money, and always drove new cars. I remember them coming to visit us on the farm in New Jersey - in fact there is a photo of him putting us children into the trunk of his latest car for a joke. We thought it was terrific. As you can see from this photo, he was one of the earliest people I knew of who was able to have his initials on "vanity plates" on his car!
I know he helped various family members financially. He bought a beautiful dining table for my parents, which ever after was referred to as Uncle Nathan's table. My grandmother wrote that, when my grandfather had extended illnesses (diabetes, etc) they had a long period of financial hardship. Uncle Nathan came to the rescue then and bought his brother (my grandfather Richard) a house in Hackettstown, N.J., where they lived for the next several years. Here's a photo of my grandparents, Mercy and Richard, in front of that house.
Grandpa Richard's other brothers and sisters (in the group photograph above) must have died before I was born, and I never heard much about any of them. Perhaps some other cousins will chime in, and correct or enhance what I know about our family?!

15 comments:

whitfield said...

My Grandmother was Helen Whitfield. She married LO Roberts, a Dr. in Portland OR.
Helens sister are buried in a pioneer cemetary in portland oregon (and her brother),. Nathan Byron (from Marengo co) and Medora are buried there too.
I had a Great Aunt Bunny (nickname). Have you been to Demopolis to see Gainswood??? My cousins and I want to take a trip one day to see it. Barb

Sigrid Jardin said...

This is very interesting. We are probably distant relatives. I've never been to Demopolis, but my mother visited and talked about it often. Maybe someday... thanks for writing.

Anonymous said...

We must be distant relatives. My grandmother Helen, had two sisters (Edith and Elizabeth) she had at least one brother (that is buried in the same place she is.,,same spot....kind of creepy) Below is a little bit of family I thought was strange (I found it in one of the geneology records I ran across.. a number of children were born and lived very short lives.
Elizabeth is still a "fammous" family name... My mother's siter was Mary Elizabeth, my siter is Elizabeth and my uncln was Bryan (instead of Byra). Lots of stories about the Whitfild women...

Regarding the names I listed, I don't know how many are buried in the Pioneer cemetary but I am certain that there are a lot of kids in it. We have the Whitfields and the Potters and own two differnt plots. Search the internet and look for hauntings in the "Greenwood Hills Pioneer" Cemetary. Location is Portland Oregon.

NATHAN BRYAN WHITFIELD (BRYAN WHITFIELD4, WILLIAM WHITFIELD3, WILLIAM WHITFIELD2, MATTHEW WHITFIELD1) was born 19 Sep 1799 in Lenoir Co. NC, and died 27 Dec 1868 in Marengo Co. AL. He married (1) ELIZABETH WATKINS WHITFIELD 16 Feb 1819, daughter of NEEDHAM WHITFIELD and SARAH WATKINS. She was born 09 Feb 1801, and died 04 Nov 1846. He married (2) ELIZABETH WHITFIELD.

Nathan Bryan Whitfield's Gainswood

Children of NATHAN BRYAN WHITFIELD and ELIZABETH WATKINS WHITFIELD are:

SARAH WATKINS WHITFIELD, b. 1819; d. 1822.
WINIFRED B. WHITFIELD, b. 1821; d. 1822.
NATHAN BRYAN WHITFIELD, b. 1824; d. 1832.
MARY ELIZABETH WHITFIELD, b. 05 Apr 1825; d. 02 Jan 1859, Mobile, AL. Buried in MS.; m. WILLIAM WILTSHIRE WHITFIELD.
BRYAN WATKINS WHITFIELD, b. 28 Mar 1828, Lenoir Co. NC; d. 15 Dec 1908, Brookside, Harlan Co. KY.
NEEDHAM GEORGE WHITFIELD, b. 21 Aug 1830; d. 13 Feb 1884.
EDITH WINIFRED WHITFIELD, b. 1832; d. 1842.
NATHAN BRYAN WHITFIELD, b. Bet. 1833 - 1836.
JAMES BRYAN WHITFIELD, b. 1837; d. 1842.
SARAH ELIZABETH WHITFIELD, b. 1839; d. 1842.
EDITH JAMES WHITFIELD, b. Bet. 1840 - 1842.
BESSIE WINIFRED WHITFIELD, b. 24 Nov 1843; m. FRANCIS EUGENE WHITFIELD.

Anonymous said...

We must be distant relatives. My grandmother Helen, had two sisters (Edith and Elizabeth) she had at least one brother (that is buried in the same place she is.,,same spot....kind of creepy) Below is a little bit of family I thought was strange (I found it in one of the geneology records I ran across.. a number of children were born and lived very short lives.
Elizabeth is still a "fammous" family name... My mother's siter was Mary Elizabeth, my siter is Elizabeth and my uncln was Bryan (instead of Byra). Lots of stories about the Whitfild women...

Regarding the names I listed, I don't know how many are buried in the Pioneer cemetary but I am certain that there are a lot of kids in it. We have the Whitfields and the Potters and own two differnt plots. Search the internet and look for hauntings in the "Greenwood Hills Pioneer" Cemetary. Location is Portland Oregon.

NATHAN BRYAN WHITFIELD (BRYAN WHITFIELD4, WILLIAM WHITFIELD3, WILLIAM WHITFIELD2, MATTHEW WHITFIELD1) was born 19 Sep 1799 in Lenoir Co. NC, and died 27 Dec 1868 in Marengo Co. AL. He married (1) ELIZABETH WATKINS WHITFIELD 16 Feb 1819, daughter of NEEDHAM WHITFIELD and SARAH WATKINS. She was born 09 Feb 1801, and died 04 Nov 1846. He married (2) ELIZABETH WHITFIELD.

Nathan Bryan Whitfield's Gainswood

Children of NATHAN BRYAN WHITFIELD and ELIZABETH WATKINS WHITFIELD are:

SARAH WATKINS WHITFIELD, b. 1819; d. 1822.
WINIFRED B. WHITFIELD, b. 1821; d. 1822.
NATHAN BRYAN WHITFIELD, b. 1824; d. 1832.
MARY ELIZABETH WHITFIELD, b. 05 Apr 1825; d. 02 Jan 1859, Mobile, AL. Buried in MS.; m. WILLIAM WILTSHIRE WHITFIELD.
BRYAN WATKINS WHITFIELD, b. 28 Mar 1828, Lenoir Co. NC; d. 15 Dec 1908, Brookside, Harlan Co. KY.
NEEDHAM GEORGE WHITFIELD, b. 21 Aug 1830; d. 13 Feb 1884.
EDITH WINIFRED WHITFIELD, b. 1832; d. 1842.
NATHAN BRYAN WHITFIELD, b. Bet. 1833 - 1836.
JAMES BRYAN WHITFIELD, b. 1837; d. 1842.
SARAH ELIZABETH WHITFIELD, b. 1839; d. 1842.
EDITH JAMES WHITFIELD, b. Bet. 1840 - 1842.
BESSIE WINIFRED WHITFIELD, b. 24 Nov 1843; m. FRANCIS EUGENE WHITFIELD.

Bryan Whitfield said...

5/27/07
Greetings,

Your Capt. Bryan Whitfield was not the son of Gen. Nathan Bryan Whitfield of Marengo County, Alabama. He was the son of Nathan's brother, Gen. James Bryan Whitfield.

Their father was Gen. Bryan Whitfield from Lenoir County, N.C. He was a General of the North Carolina militia following the Rev War. Three of his sons held the title including your gr gr grandfather, Gen. James Bryan Whitfield.

Best Regards,

Bryan Watkins Whitfield
POBox 510
Dahlonega, Ga.
bwwiv@alltel.net

Robyn said...

Does anyone have a complete list of the slaves that traveled to Marengo County with the Whitfields. These are my ancestors.

Howard Lovett said...

I am the great, great, great grandson of Nathan Bryan Whitfield.

via

Dr. Bryan Watkins Whitfield
Mary Elizabeth Whitfield McKinley
John Henry McKinley - Nina Louisa Howard
Mary Whitfield McKinley - Wells Thomas Lovett
Howard Wells Lovett

My brothers and I have some family documents including artwork by Mary Elizabeth and the Sartain etching of Nathan B. Whitfield.

I have memories of visiting Demopolis AL and Brookside KY as a child and my Whitfield cousins in Harlan/Brookside.

John and Nina McKinley are buried in Demopolis.

Mary Whitfield McKinley Lovett is buried in Cave Hill Cemetary, Louisville, KY June 16, 1930 - August 22, 2005

I have three daughters:

Brittain Stevens Lovett 5-1-87
Sibley Whitfield Lovett 10-28-89
Eliza Pflittner Lovett 11-11-91

Howard Lovett
3924 Stonehenge Road
Fort Worth, TX 76109

Nathan Whitfield said...

very interesting reading. I would love to meet some of my relatives from the whitfield side. Its too bad my great grand father Nathan is not alive. i could sure use some assistance. Anyhow, nathan started the first ford agency in New Haven. Ironically, I have been in the automobile business for twenty plus years. I reside in Fla. now and am 52 years young. You can contact me at nwhit2@msn.com i would love to hear from you. Happy Holidays, Nathan B. Whitfield

Annette said...

I, too, would like to know if anyone in the Whitfield family has any records of the slaves that the Whitfield's owned. I am a descendent of those slaves and I cannot tell you how much I would like to know more about my ancestry. Our family names included "Blanton." My great aunt told me that my great-great-great-great grandfather that was brought over from Africa was called "Monk." Any information would be greatly appreciated. I can be reached at unitycable@aol.com Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thought you might like a couple of links to so sites about the Gaineswood Plantation.

Gaineswood Plantation
http://joannandjack.blogspot.com/2011/04/gaineswood-plantation-built-in-1843.html


The Haunting Sounds and Sights of Days Past
http://www.suite101.com/content/the-haunting-sounds-and-sights-of-days-past-a379852#ixzz1UvZOPQNQ
http://www.suite101.com/content/the-haunting-sounds-and-sights-of-days-past-a379852

Audrey Whitfield said...

Hi everyone,

My name is Audrey Whitfield and my great great grandfather was Nathan Bryan Whitfield the second. Who was my father (Russell Gordon Whitfield the III)grandpa. I became curious while talking about family history at thanksgiving and decided to google Nathan Bryan Whitfield the II. I would love to get some information on the family if you have any and I'm sure my Aunt June Whitfield, Leslie and my father would love some more information if you have it. I myself and my sister and parents still live in New Haven.

Anonymous said...

Hi:
I am Russell Gordon Whitfield 111.
I live in New Haven Ct.In fact one block away from where my Great Grandfather Nathan Bryan Whitfield lived.My Grandfather Russell Gordon Whitfield sr.actually lived in this same neighborhood too.My father Russell Gordon Whitfield jr.lived just 1 block from where I live now too.Now my 2 daughters have grown up here too.It's not that all of us were very close throughout the years ,it's just that New Haven is a terrific town and this part of it(Westville)is the best.That's 5 generations!
The story that has been passed to me is that Nathan Bryan Whitfield 11(My Great Grandfather) lived in the Carolinas and rode a bicycle up to Connecticut in order to open the first Oldsmobile dealership in Ct.There is still a building amongst the Yale buildings where you can you can still see an Oldsmobile etched into the bricks where his dealership was.I believe he owned many other properties also.
I have pictures of Gainswood and some family tree info if anyone would like to inquire.
Russell...russlisawhit@comcast.net

Bryan Whitfield said...

My name is Bryan Charles Whitfield of Maryland. My father is Nathan Bryan Whitfield Jr., son of Nathan Bryan Whitfield Sr. both of Florida. When I search "Nathan Bryan Whitfield" on wikipedia, the image that comes up is that of an original painting my father has. This leads me to believe that is indeed my relative. I would like to be able to clear this all up so I may further trace my lineage. Please feel free to contact me although this blog post is years old. Bryan.c.whitfield@gmail.com

Thanks!

Bryan Whitfield said...

I just notice that Nathan Whitfield (my father) commented here previously!

Anonymous said...

My name is Neva Whitfield my husband and I visited Gaineswood in Demopolis,Al on May 28 of this year. Not knowing anything about General Nathan B. Whitfield.We just got the book 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey. Walmart has it on line to order.It has the a ghost story in there about Gaineswood, I went to school in Perry county and had never went to Gaineswood until now. The director of Gaineswood is Carolyn Bell.334-289-4846 Fax 334-289-4846 Lovely Lady she gave my husband and I the list of the slaves of Nathan B. Whitfield. I was in tears we haven't done a lot of research as of yet but we do known John Whitfield a slave was my husband great great great grandfather.There is a few Johns on the list. He was married to a Savannah Dukes from Burke county Ga.You could call Ms. Bell and I'am sure she could fax any one the list of slaves. It's 3 pages.If any one know more about John Whitfield who lived in Jefferson county Ga please contact me at Nevawhitfild@gmail.com. Or on facebook. Thank you